Claessen, Henri J. M.

Claessen, Henri J. M.


Last name:  Claessen
Name:  Henri J. M.

Leiden University

Henri J. M. Claessen (1930) is Associate Professor of Social Anthropology at Leiden University. He studied geography, history and anthropology at Amsterdam University (1950–1956). He also obtained his PhD at Amsterdam (1970). After that he was appointed Associate Professor at Leiden University in the Department of Anthropology. In 1984 he became full Professor there, and in 1994 he retired from the University. From 1977–1994 he was Editor of Bijdragen tot de Taal-, Land- en Volkenkunde. In this period he was also active in the IUAES, which organization he served as Vice-President from 1982–1992. His thesis, Of Princes and Peoples, is a comparative study of the political organization of five Early States (Tahiti, Tonga, Dahomey, Buganda and the Realm of the Incas). This study lay at the basis of The Early State (1978) which he edited with Petr Skalnik. In 1981, again with Petr Skalnik, he edited The Study of the State. In later years he edited with M. Estellie Smith and Pieter van de Velde Development and Decline (1985). In this work the emphasis fell on evolutionary aspects of state formation. With Pieter van de Velde he edited in 1987 Early State Dynamics, and in 1991 Early State Economics. To connect matters of ideology and legitimacy, he edited with Jarich G. Oosten in 1996 Ideology and the Formation of Early States. In his Structural Change was given a survey of evolution and evolutionism in Cultural Anthropology. With Renee Hagesteijn and Pieter van de Velde he edited a special issue of Social Evolution and History under the title Thirty Years of Early State Research (2008). Apart from a number of publications in Dutch, he contributed articles in English on traditional Polynesia in Bijdragen tot de Taal-, Land- en Volkenkunde, and articles on evolutionism in Social Evolution and History. Since his retirement he has been teaching for twelve years courses in the University for Elderly People.


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